LibLink: Stephen Gilbert – Why we must be fighting for full same sex marriage equality now

Over at Pink News, Lib Dem MP for St Austell & Newquay Stephen Gilbert writes in support of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) marriage equality and explains why LGBT rights organisations should be fighting for marriage equality now. Here’s an excerpt:

As a society we have set a standard for people who want to show they are in a committed relationship, for people who want to show that they have found love and wish to remain together until death do them part. We call it marriage. Why should we deny that institution to people who wish to show that commitment to their family, friends and everybody else? In fact, our society’s denial of access to marriage to same-sex couples implicitly says that we deem their relationships as, in some, way inferior. We can’t have LGBT equality as long as one of the most important institutions in our society remains a closed shop. …

The fight for LGBT rights doesn’t stop with the motion on equal marriage. Our society needs robust action on a variety of issues: for example, children must be free from homophobic bullying in all schools, hate crimes are on the rise and must be tackled with the victims given proper support and we need to tackle homophobia in the workplace. I hope to build on the excellent work many community groups and organisations are doing, working together with them to keep the government focused on these issues and to hold them to account if necessary. People deserve nothing less.

You can read Stephen’s article in full here.

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9 Comments

  • No need to fight anyone or anything; join the Quakers. Or just hang out there. You can get married in a Quaker Meeting House. And support the Friends’ campaign for a change to this unjust law.

  • William – that is laudable but unless marriage is recognised by the law, equally, it is just a symbolic gesture

  • Can’t agree more with the sentiment. Separate but equal is a shoddy cover for injustice.

  • Richard Church 10th Sep '10 - 8:25am

    First find a church which will marry you. Until humanist celebrants have the same rights to conduct marriage ceremonies as religious celebrants, inequality in access to marriage outside the registry office will continue.

  • Just read on pinknews that lord lester is also in favour of marriage equality, which I think he probably always has been. It mentions a cohabitation bill 2008, was this open to gay couples as well and what are the differences between this and the CP. CP are the equivalent of cohabitation bills abroad, so I’m confused what this bill is all about?

    – does marriage equality mean that inevitably mean CP equality and would anybod be bothered to take the cp up if there is a cohabitation bill?

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Sep '10 - 10:41am

    But isn’t the word “marriage” with all its historical assumptions too loaded a word to use here? Might it not be better for the state just to use the words “civil partnership” throughout, and let religious organisations define “marriage” as they like through their own laws and customs? The Roman Catholic Church, for example, has its own Canon Law, which defines when a couple are married, and that may or may not coincide with what UK law regards as them being married. If you are married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in England&Wales (RC Canon Law regards England&Wales as one country, Scotland as another, and the whole of Ireland as a third, that is why I am not using “UK” here) you must also fill in some paperwork so that you are married as the state’s law declares in order to ensure the two coincide. If the state puts “Civil Partnership” on the paperwork rather than “marriage”, it makes no difference to how RC Canon Law treats the situation. Maybe Mr Clegg could have a brief word with His Holiness when he meets him next week on this matter.

  • @Matthew Huntbach
    Hi Matthew. I think if you look at this historically AND anthropologically you will see that marriage is not a religious institution. It is usually tribal or communal, but ultimately the instrument of the two familiies involved. As such, I don’t think it is accurate to say that religious institutions should be left to define marriage since it isn’t their’s, in absolute, to define. Of course, churches, synagogues, mosques and gurdwaras should remain free to decide who they allow marry in their institution, but to suggest that they own the right to define marriage for everyone cannot be supported historically. Just MHO.

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